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Archive for March, 2010

Freedom –

Yesterday I tried to soak up my last day of freedom. We started the day by hanging out in the yard with Nina for about 2 hours. I took the opportunity to top off all the bird feeders, Charlie cleaned out the bluebird houses to get ready for the new season, and Nina sniffed out all the action that Charlie and I couldn’t comprehend. Our witch hazel are in full bloom and with the warm weather they were full of honey bees! I tried to get some pictures with my new phone, but they didn’t turn out well. Spring is really on the way. We ended the morning with the three of us hanging out on the patio soaking up the sun.

Purse –

In the afternoon I started working on a new purse using some of the new fabric I got when I added to my stash recently. One of the fabrics was a beautiful purple batik with yellow/orange sunflowers on it. Purple is my favorite color and when I saw this fabric in person I new I had to use it in a purse. I was lucky to find another purple batik with the same colors and coordinating pattern for the bottom of the bag and already had a nice yellow batik to use for the top and lining.

Purple Sunflower Purse

Purple Sunflower Purse

I custom built this purse from a pattern I have previously used. The bags in the pattern book are much bigger than I wanted so I had to calculate the dimensions for this one myself. It took me longer than I expected to make sure I got the dimensions correct so I got a later start with cutting the fabric than I had hoped. I also added a bunch of pockets inside. Two zippered pockets and two regular pockets with slots for a pen on each side.

Purple Sunflower Purse Interior

Purple Sunflower Purse Interior

I made a purse with these same features previously, so at least I knew how everything went together.  The most difficult feature is the zippered top, but for a purse I always want to have it close that way.

Purple Sunflower Purse Top

Purple Sunflower Purse Top

By the end of the day I had completed the purse. I think I needed to do this marathon purse construction so I didn’t keep thinking about what the next day would be like. I am so happy with how it turned out. It’s just beautiful!

The New Job –

Today was my first day at the new job. It was pretty uneventful. Just a lot of filling out paperwork, shaking hands, and reading the employee manual (snore!). The highlight of the day was that I happened to start on the day they celebrate all the March birthdays! They had about 5 types of cakes to choose from and anyone that knows me knows that I can’t pass up a good piece of cake (or two). I had a scrumptious piece of carrot cake with lots of frosting. I love frosting! Tomorrow I am scheduled to meet with a few people to learn more about the business. Sometime in the near future I will get to go to some of the close-by locations where there are actually trains to see. I might get to climb into an engine and maybe they will let me blow the whistle. There is a lot to learn about the railroad business and it looks like I will be spending much of my time doing just that for the next few weeks.  Overall not a bad day to start my first day of work in more than 6 months!

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Jelly Roll Sampler Quilt Along Square 2

Jelly Roll Sampler Quilt Along Square 2

It’s time for the second installment of the Jelly Roll Sampler Quilt Along presented by Moose on the Porch Quilts. For those of you that are non-quilters you can find an explanation of what a jelly roll is on my first post about this fun quilting challenge.

I love the way this block turned out! Since I’m not using a jelly roll, and instead am using fabric from my stash, I couldn’t put this together exactly as the instructions indicated (sewing two strips together and then cutting them into 12 pairs). Instead the lighter purple squares are fussy cut from the fabric so I made sure that each one was exactly centered over one of each of the four different colored “stars” in the fabric and then each of the 12 pairs were sewn together. It took me a while to arrange the squares to make a uniform pattern with those different colors, but it finally fell into place.

All the participants are uploading pictures of the squares they make to a Flickr group. Take a look at all the squares created so far and stay tuned for the next square coming up after April 1st. I am so happy with my first two squares that I can’t wait for the next pattern!

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Completed Comfort Quilt

Completed Comfort Quilt

A couple of days ago I finished the comfort quilt I was making and just in the nick of time. I will be turning it in at this weeks Genesee Valley Quilt Club meeting. This will be the last meeting I will be able to attend for a while unless I take a day off from work, but I plan on picking up another comfort quilt kit to work on when I turn this one in.

I had fun working on this and overall I am pleased with how it turned out. The animal charms that I quilted in the yellow squares are very cute and for the border I used a paper doll type of pattern I found in a book my mother lent me. Since this is meant for a child, I think it looks great on this quilt.

Comfort Quilt Border Detail

Comfort Quilt Border Detail

Nina was not very willing to help me show off the quilt, but as you can see she looks great on it…

Nina Plays on Comfort Quilt

Nina Plays on Comfort Quilt

and under it! She really hates it when I point the flashy beast (camera) at her and tries to escape as quickly as possible.

Nina Hides Under Comfort Quilt

Nina Hides Under Comfort Quilt

Don’t worry, I put the quilt in the wash after the pictures were taken and was careful to try and not get any more dog hair on it. It is safely stored in a plastic bag out of Nina’s way and waiting to be transported to the meeting. I wouldn’t want some kid that is allergic to dogs to be the unlucky recipient of it if I hadn’t carefully washed it.

Lots of Pillows

Lots of Pillows

On a different note…Charlie and I ordered a new sectional for our family room a week ago. We only have about 11 more weeks to wait before it comes in (if it’s only that long)! Our current sectional is about 20 years old, has been recovered once, has very faded fabric, and the cushions aren’t holding up very well. It was time for a change so we are getting a nice brown leather sectional. The great news is that I now get to make pillows to go with it! My plan is to make six new pillows 3 each of 20″ x 20″ and 16″ x 16″ pillows. In celebration of this event and because I saw that an online fabric store had everything in stock at 20% off I did a little shopping.

Adding to my Stash!

Adding to my Stash!

Aren’t they all just so pretty? There are about 34 different fabrics in that pile.  I can’t wait to start creating my designs for these! Since much of our furniture is Arts & Crafts style from Stickley my plan is to make pillow covers that reflect that same theme. I ordered the book “William Morris in Applique” and I’m excited to pick out some of these designs for the pillows.

Adding to my Stash - Part II!

Adding to my Stash - Part II!

While we were at Joann’s picking up the pillows I had to wander over to the fabric just to “see” what was new and ended up picking out a few more items to add to my stash. The green and brown in the back are 108″ wide fabric to use for backings for quilts. I love the green one and will be using some of it to back my Big Leaf Quilt top when I get around to basting it. I also wanted to add some yellow since that was one color I was lacking in and some of the yellow I ordered didn’t come. Joann’s is having a big sale this week so as usual I couldn’t help myself!

“Hello, my name is Cindy and I am a fabric-aholic.”

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Genesee & Wyoming Railroad

My life of leisure is soon coming to an end.  I recently accepted a job as a Systems Analyst (it’s an IT job) at Genesee and Wyoming Railroad.  I’ll be starting in just over a week so I still have some time to play before it is back to a daily grind.  From what I have learned so far it should be a good place to work.  The salary is good and the benefits are exceptional.  I’ll keep you posted after I start.  It is definitely a unique business to be working for in Rochester.  Until I saw the job posting on Careerbuilder I had no idea they existed, and from the reactions I have gotten from everyone I have told, neither did they!

This company has been around for a long time (check out their web site for the details) and my plan is to be able to retire from here.  I am looking forward to meeting new people and learning about a different business.  I have thoroughly enjoyed my time of unemployment and knew it wouldn’t last forever.  One of the best parts of my time off has been rekindling my love for sewing.  I fully expect to be able to continue my sewing projects, but I might not be able to complete them as fast as I have lately.

The other thing I will miss about not working is spending my days with Charlie and Nina.  Some people worry about how they and their spouses will get along when they retire and have to spend more time together.  I have learned that Charlie and I will have no problem with being together most of the time (except for his annoying habit of singing or whistling the same tune about a hundred times during the day {grin}).

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Jelly Roll Sampler Quilt Along Square 1

Jelly Roll Sampler Quilt Along Square 1

I decided to challenge myself by joining the Jelly Roll Sampler Quilt Along presented by Moose on the Porch Quilts. For those of you that are non-quilters, a jelly roll is usually a set of about 20 different fabrics that are cut into strips of 2 1/2 inches for the width of the fabric (usually 44 inches). There are typically 2 of each of the different fabrics so you have about 40 strips of fabric to work with.

I didn’t have a jelly roll, but have plenty of fabric so I decided to just use what I already have on hand. I selected a group of about 20 fabrics that I will use for this challenge. I have chosen a group of mostly purple and turquoise for this sampler and can’t wait for the next pattern to be presented in about 10 days.

Jelly Roll Sampler Quilt Along Fabric

Jelly Roll Sampler Quilt Along Fabric

All the participants are uploading pictures of the squares they make to a Flickr group.  Take a look at all the squares created so far and stay tuned for the next square coming up after March 15th.

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I am a bit late giving an update on my progress during the Spring Winter Sewing Party I participated in this past Saturday so here it is.

At the previous Genesee Valley Quilt Club meeting I picked up a comfort quilt kit so I could practice quilting.  I am not new to sewing so piecing the quilt top was not a challenge, but I haven’t done much quilting yet and wanted to have something to try out my skills on.  I also recently purchased a Free Motion Assistant with Quilters Cruise Control.  After taking a class in free motion quilting I realized that this device would make the quilting process easier.  Even with the Free Motion Assistant it still takes a lot of practice to improve your skills.  I can still be a bit jerky, but as I have moved along I am definitely seeing an improvement.

This comfort quilt is intended for a child so when I saw these cute continuous line animal charm patterns in a book I borrowed from my mother, I knew I had to include them in the quilt.

Comfort Quilt Progress

Comfort Quilt Progress

In the green squares I am attempting to quilt loop-de-loops around the big circles and then continue with a more free form loop-de-loop pattern in the red polka dot squares. I am not always as smooth in the green squares, but I am getting better as I progress.

Comfort Quilt Progress

Comfort Quilt Progress

I am using a Sulky green variegated thread for both the top and bobbin threads. When I was quilting on Saturday I was having some problems with tension, but after fiddling for a while I was able to resolve the issue. This slowed down my progress, but I am pleased with how far I have gotten and I love the way the charms look in the plain yellow squares.

Comfort Quilt Detail

Comfort Quilt Detail

The next GVQC meeting is March 11th and my goal is to have the quilting completed by then so I can turn it in.

In other news…Recently I posted about the Knitting Tote and accessories I made for my sister Colleen’s birthday and wanted to let you know that she was over the moon with excitement about the bag and all the goodies that came with it.  Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but she really liked it!   She also sent me a picture of one of her recent knitting projects that I thought I would share with you.

Knitted Christmas Stocking by Colleen

Knitted Christmas Stocking by Colleen

What a cute Christmas stocking.  She gives these away to friends that have had a new baby so they can use it for the first Christmas.  I don’t know much about knitting, but I do like the details of the striped part and the scalloped edge with the little bells at the top.

Today I received another picture from Colleen. It appears that Kip, one of her cats, is over the moon with excitement about the tote bag and accessories, too!

Kip the Kitty's New Toys

Kip the Kitty

Well, anyone that has or has had a cat knows that any bag that is lying around is fair game for exploring and anything soft and cuddly could also be mistaken for a toy. I hope Kip enjoys his “new toys”, but please don’t tear anything to shreds.

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